Hello Japan


Well Georgie and I have survived the Jetstar flight from the Gold Coast to Osaka. We were really surprised with the quality of the plane, was expecting a more AirAsia like plane. Would fly JetStar international again for sure. After a few little confusions we made it Shin-Osaka YH, really nice hostel. Great views over the city and we had a 4-6 bed dorm to ourselves.

We decided to hedge our bets and have Indian for dinner – no language problems and I think the staff were grateful to have English speaking customers. It was a good meal. 1200 yen for rice, curry, crunchy salad, a massive naan, chai and mango ice cream. Wish we had Indian for that price back home!

We had a look in some corner stores and found some interesting goods – pringles with a little container of dipping sauce! Also found almond Kit-Kats are creme caramel Kit-Kats!  I remember when I first saw Japanese Kit-Kats on the Floating World Views blog, I knew that when I got to Japan I would be hunting down as many flavours as I could find.

We are currently on the Hikata bullet train on the way to Hiroshima.

the next few days

The next six days are going to be slightly manic.

Tomorrow – I have work (of course), I get my tooth implant, I’ve got postgrad orientation stuff to do at uni and then I have The Whitlams with the QSO tomorrow night.

Friday – Work and then straight to the airport to catch a flight to Hobart.

Saturday – Wedding of my cousin on the beach at Coles Bay/Freycinet

Sunday – Post wedding activities and flying home Sunday night.

Monday – Work and first uni lecture

Tuesday – Fly to Japan for 2 weeks. (Yeah, I’ll be missing four classes – two for each subject, whilst I’m away)

I’m so crazy looking forward to going to Japan. G (one of my best girl friends) and I are going to have a blast (literally as they having a bit of a cold snap at the moment and it is forecast to snow for the days we are up in the alps!!!).

It’s going to be crazy. I bought a new lens the other week, the 28mm 1.8 which will be one of the two lenses I’m taking to Japan, the other will be the 50mm 1.4. I was thinking of taking my 16-35mm 2.8 but it is a heavy piece of glass. I took a few photos with the 28mm the other day and I’m impressed

Multi use Figgjo
Yep, some more of my Figgjo Flint Lotte. Here you see a creamer which doubles as a bobby pin and nail utensil holder, a sugar pot that holds bracelets and hair clips and my soufflé dish which holds jewellery.

Playing with the 28mm 1.8

Playing with the 28mm 1.8

Playing with the 28mm 1.8Playing with the 28mm 1.8Playing with the 28mm 1.8

French music vs Icelandic food, the battle for which is written about first

aka a really long post title.

I’m/We/A group of us are going to see Gainsbourg on Wednesday night at Palace Centro. I received an email a few weeks ago offering free tickets so I thought why not. I recognised the name but typical of me could not place a song title or the like.

I finally got round to watching the trailer and it looks really good – yeah it’s a bio-pic but the music, the setting, the people, it’s all good.

The Trailer

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus

and moving on….

I came home today to find a little red box sitting on the counter, a Pósturinn box. A birthday present from halfway round the world. I then artfully arranged the contents for a photo, with a sort of building blocks theme … note the Give Way sign, I like getting that sign in photos I take on the deck.

Life Essentials

mmm Prince Polo bars, a Hraun bar (sort of like the Icelandic version of a Picnic – as in a chocolate bar that looks a bit ugly but is pretty tasty) and an obligatory chocolate liquorice bar – I’m no fan of liquorice but some things just have to be sent. More importantly in the parcel were two jars of jam. One marked Red Lava 2010 and the other RGH2 Sept 2010. The Red Lava is a chilli jam, a “flavour bomb” for want of a better phrase, the other RGH2 is redcurrant, honey and ginger. I think RGH2 will go pretty well on the fruit toast.

I also finished uploading all my photos from the Iceland trip on the weekend – just have some video to get up at some stage. Go have a looksie, ahh I wonder when I will get to Iceland again.

Dyrhólaey, 355/365

and with that tomorrow, I get my stitches taken out 🙂

Three photos and a few words from June 20

Well in a few words you will find out that I am now in Iceland and have been since about 11pm on June 16th. Just in time to celebrate Iceland’s national day on June 17th and then a memorial service and ashes burial for my father on June 18th etc etc etc

We’ve had a slide show of slides that Pabbi took before Mum and we will be having a slide show shortly of slides that Mum took after she arrived. Mum is currently knitting me a shawl, we’ve climbed a mountain in the midnight light. We are going to brew beer tonight with Karl and watch the soccer and a hundred other things that have been done and yet to be done.

A few photos from June 20.

This is one of my nephews wearing Amma Rut’s (Mum/Ruth) glasses.
Iceland, June 20

We spent part of the afternoon at Þingvellir, where we laughed at this sign. The sign mentions nothing about throwing Australian coins into the river…… I would love to get one of those signs. How often do you see a sign like that????
Iceland, June 20

This is Öxarárfoss at Þingvellir. This waterfall looks quite large on the road in but when you walk up to the base of the falls it is actually quite tiny…..
Iceland, June 20

So excited

I am about to go on my first work trip 😀 To say I am excited is a little bit of an understatement. I am going to work in/be the Townsville medical office for the coming week whilst the Townsville med manager has a few days off as well as going to the medical conference.

It’s my first work trip and I have a travel allowance and cabcharges and swanky accommodation. And even better, I’ll get to see Sam 🙂

Have to go, the taxi is due in 5 minutes.

Melbourne, Day 1

Well I am well and truly back from Melbourne, though I would move there in a heart beat and a half if offered the chance. I figure I got about 80% of the things I wanted to do in Melbourne done and I managed to get about half the things on my pre-planned shopping list.

Lesson #1, Qantas time and Helen time are not calibrated. I was supposedly 1 minute too late to drop my bag for my flight. I had already checked in online the day before but had to queue for the bag drop. I was in the bag drop line for about 4 minutes. The lady at the counter said they had put an announcement over the loudspeaker for people to come out of the line. I just shook my head and if I hadn’t been so tired I would have argued it because there was no announcement. She also tried to tell me that I had to have my backpack in a bag before it could be dropped. WTF? Never heard that before – you just buckle all the straps up and it is fine. Though I must admit I heard her a little later telling another passenger that the wooden box they were checking in as luggage had to be in a bag. WTF? I didn’t queue in her line the next time. Back to the story. $44 later I was on the next flight to Melbourne – it left Brisbane at 0655 instead of the 0555 I had been booked on. Still I was ahead because the Qantas fare was still cheaper than Virgin or Jetstar and they would have made me pay the entire fare again to get on the next flight.
When I went back to check in and drop my bag for the next flight, I joined a different queue and the man at the counter had no problems with my backpack just as long as I buckled the straps up. Silly lady.

Lesson #2, do not make eye contact with the person with the explosive trace wand, because she will target you and wave the magic wand over you.

Lesson #3, Helen ♥s Melbourne.

I picked up the May issue of Real Living at the airport, so that with The Australian and The Courier Mail courtesy of Qantas were my reading material for the flight. I ♥ Real Living. I had a really pleasant flight down. The breakfast was good and one of the flight attendants, commented on my ear-rings which was nice, I returned the comment by saying I would love to be able to style my hair in the way she had done it.

Some photos from the flight.
This is the view as we flew over the Murray, I love the patchwork.
The MurrayQantas Wings

I landed in Melbourne to drizzly rain and grey skies. ugg not the Melbourne I wanted. Still this is the city of “four seasons in one day” by the arvo it would be blue skies. I again stayed at Greenhouse Backpackers. I can not recommend them enough. $30/night, free breakfast if you are up early enough and in such a fantastic location. On Flinders Ln between Swanston St and Degraves St and it has a rooftop 🙂 It is great. Once I had unpacked my bags and grabbed a bed. I was off to explore.

I started on the corner of Flinders and Swanston and walked down to Spencer, back up Flinders Lane to Swanston, down Collins etc in a similar manner till I reached the corner of Little Lonsdale and Swanston. Oh the sights I saw and the sights I didn’t see.

Flinders Lane was great and I must say I loved living above it. The Aesop store has the most incredible fit out, the entire shelving system is made from cardboard. Didn’t go in but I loved what I saw. There was another shop just down from the Greenhouse entrance that had the most gorgeous emerald green wool shift dress in the window. If I was a size 10 and lived in Melbourne I would have stolen it from the window. Had a browse in Polyester Records but didn’t find anything that tickled my musical fancy. Had lunch at Le Petit Gâteau but that will be another post. Really enjoyed walking round the court district, lots of nice buildings and nice looking people.

Saw some lovely bicycles, one great thing about Melbourne is that because it is so flat it is very cycle friendly. I was suprised to see many ladies in full office wear, cycling home after work in high heels and all. I guess you don’t really work up a sweat cycling home in the cooler Melbourne weather.

Melbourne BikesMelbourne Bikes

Had a fantastic time on Little Bourke between Elizabeth and Queen. Wilkins and Kent was a fantastic shop, I picked up a cute little wooden tree brooch from States of Nature, a lavender heat pillow from Tonic Australia and placed a Jo Luping tile on hold that I would pick up from the Fitzroy store the next day. If you go to this article at Lost My Way and scroll down to the Jo Luping section, I got the tree tile that is in the middle. I love it! I had a little look in Paddy Pallin and tried on a great pair of shoes but the size 9 was too tight, tried on the size 10 in a similar style as they didn’t have the size 10 in the style I wanted. The good news was that the Fortitude Valley store had a size 10. Called Pabbi and he went in the next day and picked up a pair for me. Score!!! These are the new shoes, that were waiting on my bed when I got home from Melbourne. They are made by Simple (a shoe company that I just adore) and they can be found on Zappos here

Carousel shoes by Simple

Went to Metropolis Books and oh my I l ♥ that shop. I love how much space they were – it was great not having a really cramped bookshop. I picked up the Sublime Stitching Pad which I had been looking at for a while and a book called It’s So You, edited by Michelle Tea, writings from thirty-five women about personal expression through fashion and style. It looks like it will be a really great read. The lady behind the counter said she had loved it, so should be good.

I also stopped by Made in Japan where I picked up three very lovely ceramic pieces. I got the 18cm open shape bowl and 25cm large shallow bowl in Embossed Asanoha, they looked lovely nested together. I also got the 25cm large shallow bowl in Blue Blossom.

Mmm what else did I do? I walked and I walked some more and took photos! Took some street art photos for Karl
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Another thing I ♥ about the Melbourne CBD is all the rooftop spaces with gardens on them etc as well as all the balcony/window sill gardens.

This photo made me laugh

I loved the grid of the tram lines against the blue sky and the number 39.
Tram lines in the sky

A little lane way off Little Bourke

This photo reminded me of a show called Loot I once saw on the ABC.

Something a little arty.

The Myer windows in the Bourke St Mall, had costumes and props from Australia. I loved this outfit in the movie.
Australia Windows

dead umbrella, no longer needed, the sun is out.
umbrella, dead.

and I leave you with one last photo. You would want to hope that this building never changes street numbers 😀
Three Ninety

I retired back to the hostel with a bag full of goodies and a very tired Helen.